As weary minds turn their thoughts to the Arsenal game, one has to wonder how effective can Arnautovic be for West Ham given the style of play that David Moyes is employing, to gather as many points to secure survival in the Premier League and earn himself a sizeable bonus?

The Austrian is the kind of player that thrives on the attention but he is being increasingly used in an isolated role and too much is being asked of him to produce results in the last third of the pitch. For the last few months he has been the driving force in the team and still remains the club’s only hope of salvation because other talents are not being utilised to best effects.

Hernandez and Lanzini have either been bit part players or have underproduced, whilst the rest may show commitment and endeavour at times, but there still lacks the quality and consistency to be of any great benefit. However, when Moyes has focussed on a solitary player to bring about a saving grace then usually there will be the inevitable bump in the road that would upset any form of momentum.

For the last three games, Arnautovic has been grimacing throughout matches and has taken a few knocks too but still remains strong enough for the fight, however other players would wilt in the heat of battle if only brushed by the slightest touch. Moyes would appear to want to load the deck and play him in the lead role in every game, however without an attacking formation to support his leading man…the team’s efforts usually fall flat and would give opponents the hope for a victory of their own.

This is not to say that Moyes has misfired in every tactical decision and indeed under his stewardship, Arnautovic has excelled. However, there has been no sense of urgency for Moyes to lead the team with intent and go for a win in every match, much rather settling for a draw or a narrow victory…or even merely avoiding a loss. In the game against Southampton the first half was a joy to watch but the second half bordered on the nonsensical again.

There was an opportunity to continue in the same manner but Moyes instructed his players to shut the game down and not risk too much. In his mind the game was already won, so there was no need to extend the winning margin. Somebody has obviously forgotten to tell the manager that football is supposed to be entertaining and the fans want to be thrilled and excited…they do not readily enjoy being frustrated or bored from the metronomic apathetic displays!

One would have to agree with Moyes’ tactics when butting heads with the ‘big boys’ however he tends to be rigid with his application in every match regardless of which opponents line up on the other side of the pitch. It is this reluctance to make hay whilst the sun shines that would infuriate the most passionate of fans and may even be a catalyst to some players’ displeasure at the moment or indeed in the future.

Obviously Hernandez is the leader of the pack who would want to exit the club in the summer, however there are other players who might follow suit if other clubs showed any kind of serious interest…if Moyes remains in charge. But what of Arnautovic…would he stay or would he want to leave if another club came calling?

At the moment both club and player have a symbiotic relationship…he needs West Ham and the club assuredly needs him. The fans have embraced his talent, fervour and demeanour but he also may get restless if opportunities do not go his way and there is a hint of frustration entering his game, especially at Chelsea and against Stoke City on Monday night.

Moyes still has to charge his players to be resolute in defence but there are obvious frailties in the whole team that cannot be simply rectified now and solutions will have to wait until the summer. However one of the biggest failings this season has been the inability to retain possession, especially against the better teams and the fear is that Moyes will revert to a long ball game now that Carroll is fit again and especially as he scored the equalising goal in the last game…but would this necessarily suit Arnautovic? Perhaps!

In the next game against Arsenal, the fans will expect Moyes to be defensive once again however many would feel that there is a glowing opportunity to attack a feeble Arsenal defence. Will Moyes ably support Arnautovic and will he play him in a two man frontal assault? Will Carroll or Hernandez feature…and will Lanzini be employed to inject some creativity in the midfield area? 

Moyes has the ability to surprise, if only he has the gumption to attempt it. He can set up the team to be an attacking force when Arsenal would be expectant to run riot. He can lie in wait…like the predator and strike given the right conditions…but it is more likely that he will serve up more drivel and distaste and be caught out just like the Venus Flytrap who licked the Toad. 



By Gonzo

West Ham fan for as long as I can remember. I was flukey enough to watch The Irons beat Bury 10-0 in my first ever game . . . True to form, West Ham then went out and signed their central defender 😬

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